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City’s second worst landlord has Queens properties: Public Advocate

By Sadef Ali Kully

The second worst landlord in the city owns two apartment buildings in Woodside and Jackson Heights, according to the latest Worst Landlords Watchlist released Monday by the city’s Public Advocate office.

Queens had 549 buildings on the Watchlist out of a total 6,081 and Queens landlord Harry Silverstein was named the second worst landlord in the entire city.

The watchlist includes data from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, but for the first time data from the Department of Buildings is included and tenants are able to track housing court activity of their landlords in an interactive database.

Silverstein has 474 violations for two Queens properties, 39-30 59th St. in Woodside and 35-08 95th St, in Jackson Heights, according to the city’s HDP and DOH records.

Violations for Silverstein ranged from an illegal basement apartment to complaints of rodent infestations.

According to the Public Advocate’s office, Silverstein managed 4,080 units in seven buildings with 1,482 HPD violations and 81 DOB complaints across the city. He also owns properties in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

“Every New Yorker deserves to live in safety and security, and every apartment needs to meet basic standards of decency,” Public Advocate Letitia James said. “Unfortunately, unscrupulous landlords throughout our city are failing to uphold these basic rights, creating inhumane living conditions for tenants.”

James has also proposed legislation that would require the city to expand its database of landlords to include information about violations, tenant complaints and tax liens.

According to the Public Advocate’s office, there are 3,393 landlords on the list this year.

“Tenants in New York have a basic, legal right to safe and decent housing,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “We pursue rigorous enforcement actions through programs such as HPD’s Alternative Enforcement Program, which monitors and requires repairs to the 250 most distressed buildings in the city.”

For a landlord to be added to the Watchlist, they must own a building with a minimum threshold of violations or open complaints per unit. For buildings with fewer than 35 units, there must be an average of at least three open, serious violations or active complaints per unit; for larger buildings with 35 units or more there must be an average of at least two open, serious violations or active complaints per unit.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skully@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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